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How should the Twins approach their pitching depth

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#1 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:59 AM

This might be an interesting exercise to keep us engaged this offseason, and I'm somewhat curious what people think.

 

To start, I'm going with 4 locks in the rotation: Berrios, Gibson, Pineda (though to be fair, he may not be a lock), and Odorizzi. I'm assuming that we aren't going to sign anyone, and I don't think trading one of these guys makes a lot of sense unless it's part of a package to include a clear upgrade or a clear upgrade is signed via FA.

 

The Twins currently have 11 options available that could be starting for them at some point in 2019. A few of these guys can have a case made for breaking north with them this spring while several will definitely require a bit more seasoning. 

Out of options. These guys go north or get cut.

  • Meija
  • May

AAA possibilities currently on the 40 man

  • Gonsalves
  • Stewart
  • Slegers (may be a DFA candidate)
  • De Jong (may be a DFA candidate)
  • Thorpe
  • Littell
  • Romero

Not on the 40 man but close

  • Tyler Wells
  • Graterol (he may need to be added this offseason, but I'm not sure).

 

Now to the point. That's a lot of starting pitching with a mix of upsides. I know you can never have enough SP, but at this point, there's a bit of a log jam. There's one free spot this year, and three guys (Gibson, Pineda, and Odorizzi) who are QO/FAs next season, though I could definitely see a case for locking one of them up.

 

I suspect the 5th starter role will be given to Mejia and May will be in the pen. I'm not sure I agree with that personally (I think he could still start), but that seems to be a minority opinion, and quite frankly if May wants to pitch in the pen, letting him do so is probably good for building that killer pen we all desire. Side note, I consider May/Mejia, Hildy, Reed, and Rodgers to all be locks there, and I think they try and add one more shutdown reliever. So in my world, you have 5 of 7-8 spots locked up in the pen while still needing to figure out what to do with Moya, Busenitz, Magill, Curtiss, Vasquez, and Drake (along with a few 40 man add candidates in the minors), so I don't think you can stash more than maybe one other pitcher in the pen, especially if there are plans for some of these other guys.

 

That leaves us with a lot of guys with ticking options clock and no realistic means of being the rotation any time soon. I suspect a couple get the DFA hammer, but with 7 guys who should all be in AAA and a couple more getting close to needing adding, I'm wondering if it makes sense to trade one or two of them. Personally, I don't think I'm trading Romero, Thorpe, or Graterol, as they all have way too much upside. The question is if you try and trade one or two of them, and if so, for what? 

 

I don't think guys like Gonsalves, Stewart, or Littell will have a ton of value, but I do think they have some value. Could we, for instance, solve our 2B/SS problem and potentially get a decent player or perhaps a 1B/DH type that is needed and somewhat undervalued? Just curious what/who you'd trade and for what.

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#2 PseudoSABR

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 12:22 PM

One can never have enough pitching.I don't advocate trading any of the young starters unless it nets an upgrade in the rotation.

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#3 Sconnie

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 12:30 PM

I think Pineda is enough of a question that the Twins sign a free agent for the rotation. Maybe Garret Richards, not front of the rotation type, but reduces your dependence on Pineda. 

 

If Pineda isn't ready for the start of the season, Mejia is there. If Pineda looks good, Mejia goes to the pen. The Pen needs an overhaul this season and I think one of Slegers/Gonsalves/Stewart gets converted to the Pen in a non-swing man type of role. It would be great to see a trade, but unfortunately the pieces you'd like to trade aren't really valuable, but the depth is so valuable. 

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#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 01:18 PM

 

One can never have enough pitching.I don't advocate trading any of the young starters unless it nets an upgrade in the rotation.

 

I would tend to agree, though in this case, I think they can use some of the young starters to upgrade elsewhere without sacrificing depth. I agree the rotation could be an upgrade there. I'd be curious who could be reasonably targeted. I'm not sure you could get one of the Mets starters for say Gonsalves (he might be included, but not the centerpiece). Or perhaps you target another Odorizzi type and send one of those guys that way?

 


#5 jkcarew

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 01:49 PM

I agree it's a bit of a log jam.So, I'd be all for trading (or making bullpen pieces of) any and all that the FO accesses as having the relatively low ceilings as starters.

 

Having said that, sometimes there is a subliminal inference that depth means quality.Just because it's been better than it was, doesn't mean it's good.It's not good.The Twins starters were league average or below in most any statistical category worth mentioning...and this with the benefit of having played nearly one-third of the schedule against the AAAA lineups of Chicago, Detroit, and KC.

 

The starting staff must be significantly better to compete for anything meaningful in 2019, (or 2020 for that matter).I guess if the FO believes that Berrios or one or more of the younger arms are on the verge of taking significant steps, they can roll the dice with that.But the needle isn't moved by exchanging some 'decent' options for other 'decent' options.IMO, this off-season they should be seriously trying to acquire something better than 2018 Berrios.

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#6 Vanimal46

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 02:02 PM

Out of that list I would move several to the bullpen. De Jong, Slegers, Littell, and Stewart are fringe starters who are probably better off in the bullpen just like Rogers a couple of years ago.

I don't believe in log jams. It's an off-season worry every year, and every year it turns out that the log jam was a figment of our imagination.
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#7 Vanimal46

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 02:14 PM

Out of the list of 13 pitchers... Choose 2-3 names out of a hat. Those pitchers will be injured for a significant portion of 2019.

Choose 2-3 more names out of a hat. Those pitchers will perform well below expectations.

Choose 1-2 names out of a hat. Those pitchers will out perform their expectations.
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#8 Mike Sixel

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 02:56 PM

I hope they aren't assuming Pineda is a good SP next year....he hasn't pitched in a year. I'd assume he's a bullpen piece, until he proves he's not.

 

Gibson is gone in a year, probably. Spend your money on the best SP on the market (not going to happen, but a man can dream).......but if you don't make a serious run at being a MUCH better team, the easiest way to fix the logjam is to embrace the rebuild and trade Gibson. 

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#9 Shaitan

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 03:02 PM

I wouldn't expect Mejia to be "given" anything. If so, he would've been in the rotation this year.


#10 nicksaviking

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 03:29 PM

I like the quantity, but I don't like the quality. I'd really like to find some trades to make Berrios the #2 or (pipedream) #3. I know starting pitchers are largely being devalued these days but until I see the Twins beat Houston, Cleveland, Boston or NY to get to the ALCS with not one pitcher in their rotation that is on the same level as those teams, I'm going to struggle to believe they can do it.

 

Also, May has looked good in the pen, but he's got + velocity, four pitches and a good build; he looks like the kind of starters that Falvey was hailed as having had a hand in discovering in Cleveland. That he's had some set backs and taken awhile to find his footing is only another similarity.

 

I also wouldn't be surprised if Odorizzi gets to continue through spring training fighting for one of the rotation spots but the actual idea is for him to wind up in the pen. 

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#11 Carole Keller

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 08:21 AM

No one on that AAA-40man list looks to be a top end starter. If we have a SP opening, go out and get someone who is better than what we have now as AAA filler or backend rotation filler. There are some pitchers in our system that are certainly intriguing, but they aren’t difference makers until they are but certainly won’t be for next season. Get a quality SP arm for 2019. Let the ‘up and coming arms’ make their case and push someone else out.
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#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:54 AM

 

Out of the list of 13 pitchers... Choose 2-3 names out of a hat. Those pitchers will be injured for a significant portion of 2019.

Choose 2-3 more names out of a hat. Those pitchers will perform well below expectations.

Choose 1-2 names out of a hat. Those pitchers will out perform their expectations.

 

You're absolutely right. Problem is that you're going to give time to some of these and that some will go away. My thought is taking some of the lower upside guys and perhaps getting a usable piece at the ML level. I'm not expecting a star, but perhaps we can get a decent 2B/SS type or a 1B/DH type. 

 

The trick is identifying who. 


#13 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:56 AM

 

No one on that AAA-40man list looks to be a top end starter. If we have a SP opening, go out and get someone who is better than what we have now as AAA filler or backend rotation filler. There are some pitchers in our system that are certainly intriguing, but they aren’t difference makers until they are but certainly won’t be for next season. Get a quality SP arm for 2019. Let the ‘up and coming arms’ make their case and push someone else out.

 

Top end, I think Romero or Thrope can get there. Gonsalves could be above average. I tend to agree on the rest, and if you got a quality SP arm in 2019 for them, I'd do it. 

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#14 ashburyjohn

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 11:09 AM

Gonsalves could be above average.

He could be above-average at AAA, where he should spend the season trying to re-invent himself. His present mix of stuff and command doesn't look like it plays in the majors, IMO.

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#15 DocBauer

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 11:51 AM

Just my opinion, but I feel we're a half season to a full year from maybe making a big trade. I feel like there is so much potential on this team, but so many unfortunate unknowns, that I almost feel you are forced to hold off on certain moves until mid season next year.

I think May sticks in the pen now. He's embraced it and seems good there. Mejia has a role, we just dont know which one yet. Love Romero and his potential. Graterol may be even better, but not ready yet. Thorpe could be up at some point in 2019. Wells has a shot. I still like Gonsalves and expected an initial struggle.

That's a lot of arms to sort through and develop in 2019. Could also lead to trades of youngsters or vets come midyear.
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#16 Carole Keller

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 12:15 PM

 

Top end, I think Romero or Thrope can get there. Gonsalves could be above average. I tend to agree on the rest, and if you got a quality SP arm in 2019 for them, I'd do it. 

'Can get there' is the thing. They aren't there yet. And won't be there, likely, their first full years up as there is always an adjustment period unless they are completely special prodigies, which I don't think either is that. Get a really good SP, a top of the order type, think a 1, 2 or 3, and let those who are about to break in, force their way in. I don't think we should go into 2019 just assuming anything. We have a spot for a SP, let's do it. And if we have to trade someone in-season or move others around to make room, we do it. But where it stands right now, I don't think we have that kind of depth that we should rely completely on what we already have. And I don't think we have that much depth that we can put too many in a package trade unless it's for someone amazing. Just my thoughts. I don't think we really disagree too much here. In fact, I'd call it agreement with some nuance.

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#17 Mike Sixel

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:06 PM

 

Top end, I think Romero or Thrope can get there. Gonsalves could be above average. I tend to agree on the rest, and if you got a quality SP arm in 2019 for them, I'd do it. 

 

Nothing about Gonsalves' stuff says even average, let alone above average. Something would need to change there. 

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#18 Major League Ready

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:35 PM

 

Nothing about Gonsalves' stuff says even average, let alone above average. Something would need to change there. 

He would need to develop pin point control IMO. I don't see why so many people thought he was more deserving of a shot than the others. Stewart actually looked to me like his stuff would play better at the MLB level but he needs to improve his control as well.

 

Mejia has looked pretty good at times and they won't just cut him so he gets a shot unless they trade him.

 

What free agent SP is a good bet? Corbin had a great year but it's hard to trust he will sustain that level given he has not in the past.I would think Keuchel is likely to resign with the Astros. Who's else is a clear upgrade?

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#19 Doctor Wu

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:44 AM

 

I hope they aren't assuming Pineda is a good SP next year....he hasn't pitched in a year. I'd assume he's a bullpen piece, until he proves he's not.

 

Gibson is gone in a year, probably. Spend your money on the best SP on the market (not going to happen, but a man can dream).......but if you don't make a serious run at being a MUCH better team, the easiest way to fix the logjam is to embrace the rebuild and trade Gibson. 

It's been closer to 2 years since Pineda last pitched in the majors. He appeared in 17 games for the Yankees in 2017 before he got hurt. But you're right, he's no lock for the rotation whatsoever. I think the Twins need to go out and sign at least one decent free agent pitcher or try another savvy trade like they did with Tampa Bay last year to acquire Odorrizi. I like some of the youngsters we have coming up in the minors, but I'm not convinced enough of them are ready for prime time just yet.

Edited by Doctor Wu, 12 October 2018 - 07:45 AM.

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#20 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:20 AM

 

'Can get there' is the thing. They aren't there yet. And won't be there, likely, their first full years up as there is always an adjustment period unless they are completely special prodigies, which I don't think either is that. Get a really good SP, a top of the order type, think a 1, 2 or 3, and let those who are about to break in, force their way in. I don't think we should go into 2019 just assuming anything. We have a spot for a SP, let's do it. And if we have to trade someone in-season or move others around to make room, we do it. But where it stands right now, I don't think we have that kind of depth that we should rely completely on what we already have. And I don't think we have that much depth that we can put too many in a package trade unless it's for someone amazing. Just my thoughts. I don't think we really disagree too much here. In fact, I'd call it agreement with some nuance.

 

I think we're largely on the same page... The question I'm asking is which of these guys can be moved... and for what. 

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